Aviation firm Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) Tuesday published the traffic report for May, with the number of passengers reaching a record high for the month. The highest daily passenger traffic was also recorded last month.
Total system traffic grew 7% to about 21 billion, with domestic flights accounting for nearly two-thirds of the total revenue passenger miles. All the international segments registered growth during the month.
The uptick reflects an expansion in capacity in both the international and domestic divisions. While the Atlantic and Pacific operations witnessed strong improvement in available seat miles – a measure of carrying capacity -there was a modest decline in Latin America. Total capacity grew 5.3% to 24 billion, compared to May 2018.
Load factor, the ratio of aircraft’s lift to its weight, was 87.6% last month, up 1.3 points from a year earlier. A notable increase at home was partially offset by a slight decline in the load factor of international flights.
While the Atlantic and Pacific operations witnessed an improvement in capacity, there was a modest decline in Latin America
Delta’s aircraft fleet carried a total of 18,116,083 passengers last month, which was up 7.6% from last year and represented a record for the month of May.
Last month, Delta reported a 5% increase in revenues for the first quarter, which translated into double-digit growth in earnings to $0.96 per share. The results benefitted from relatively lower fuel expenses. The management expects the performance to improve further this year, aided by the solid business momentum and the recent renewal of a major contract with American Express (AXP).
Delta shares traded up 3% in the early hours of Tuesday, after opening the session higher. The stock lost around 7% in the past six months, despite making a solid recovery from last year’s lows.